APRU Population Ageing Hub Workshop on Population Ageing and the Chinese Economy

Annual Workshop on Population Ageing and the Chinese Economy


Event Report


The second Annual Workshop on Population Ageing and the Chinese Economy, hosted jointly by the APRU Population Ageing Research Hub and the Australian-China Population Ageing Research Hub (both located in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) at the University of New South Wales), took place on the 21st and 22nd of July 2016 on UNSW campus in Sydney. The workshop attracted 38 participants who came together for an exciting two-day program.


The first day of the workshop featured five presentations from renowned international experts and a lively roundtable discussion. The second day was reserved for presentations from nine PhD students or early career researchers from APRU universities in Australia and Asia, who presented their innovative projects and received feedback from the senior experts and other workshop participants in a collegial and constructive atmosphere. Generously-timed coffee and lunch breaks and a free workshop dinner on the evening of the first workshop day gave all participants ample opportunities to network and connect.


Professor Albert Park from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, a development and labour economist who is an expert on China’s economic development, delivered the keynote presentation on the first day. His presentation was titled “Why Are East Asia’s Elderly So Depressed?: A Comparison of China, Korea, and Japan“ and focused on differences in well-being of the elderly across the three countries. Professor Park informed the audience about several new household-level survey data sets with harmonised survey designs which can be used for comparative research on ageing in Asia. Using this data source, Professor Park showed that rates of depression are much higher among older Chinese than among older Korean or Japanese, and that different economic and demographic factors explain the prevalence of depression in each country. He presented results based on a range of state-of-the-art methods and thus provided a valuable toolbox fur further comparative research.


Workshop participants were also treated to presentations from other leading experts in the field including:


  1. Professor Rod Tyers from the University of Western Australia who presented on “Contractions in Chinese fertility and savings: long run domestic and global implication”;
  2. Professor Jing You from Renmin University of China who presented on “Smoothing or switching the ‘Great Gatsby Curve’? The distributional wealth impact of the Chinese rural pension reform across generations”;
  3. Professor Hanming Fang from the University of Pennsylvania and Scientific Director of the Australian-China Population Ageing Research Hub at CEPAR/UNSW who presented on “The Roles of Housing and Social Security in Intergenerational Transfers: The Case of China”; and
  4. Professor Xin Meng from the Australian National University who presented on “Long shadows of the Chinese Cultural Revolution: The Intergenerational Transmission of Education”.


The formal program of the first day of the workshop concluded with a roundtable discussion moderated by Professor Fang with statements and comments from all five expert presenters.


A dinner was held in the evening of the first day in a popular Vietnamese restaurant in Coogee Beach and was attended by most of the participants. The dinner and pre-dinner drinks in a nearby hotel provided additional time in a relaxed environment for experts, students and early career researchers to network and discuss their research.


The second day of the workshop featured presentations from nine PhD students and early career researchers who were selected via a competitive process and whose applications were received from APRU universities across Asia and Australia. The topics were varied and covered important current issues related to population ageing and the Chinese economy, including presentations on inequalities in public transfers in China, female labour force participation, migration, long-term care needs and financing, informal care and the high Chinese savings rate.


Seven of the nine presenters were successful in obtaining competitive travel bursary grants to assist with their travel to the workshop.


The best presenter prize of AUD 250 was awarded to Dr Yi Chen from Xi’an Jiaotong University, China, for his paper Never too old to save – Explaining the high savings rates of the Chinese Elderly.


The workshop program and presentations can be found here: http://www.cepar.edu.au/media/167267/china-workshop-21-22-july-2016_presentations.pdf.